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Frequently Asked Questions

About Esperanto

Frequently Asked Questions About Esperanto

Short answers to common questions

It's natural to have questions about Esperanto. Lots of questions come up often, so we've put together a list of some of them that we're most frequently asked about. Link


Our presentation 'About Esperanto'
  • What is Esperanto?

    Esperanto is a planned language, designed for use in international communication between people from different language backgrounds. It stands unique among planned languages in that it is the only one to have developed a community of speakers and a wealth of original literature.

    Wikipedia article on Esperanto | A summary of Esperanto on the site esperanto.net | A downloadable booklet Discover Esperanto

  • How many people speak Esperanto? Where is it spoken?

    Nobody's really sure how many people speak Esperanto. A contributor to the World Almanac's section Principal Languages of World, Professor Sidney S. Culbert, estimated that there to be up to 2 million Esperanto speakers around the world. Other people would suggest that the figure for people who are relatively proficient in Esperanto sits around the 100,000 mark.

    Esperanto is spoken all around the world. The World Esperanto Association has members in over 100 countries.

    A letter from Professor Culbert explaining his methodology | Ethnologue's figures

  • Is Esperanto growing?

    The internet has helped more people to access Esperanto than at any other point in the language's history. Duolingo's Esperanto course for English speakers welcomed its one millionth learner in November 2017, only 2.5 years after the course was launched.

    Learn Esperanto using Duolingo's course for English speakers

  • Are there native Esperanto speakers?

    Esperanto speakers can fall in love with other Esperanto speakers and have been doing so since the language initially appeared; the first Esperanto wedding took place in 1889 when Valdemar Langlet, from Sweden, and Signe Blomberg, from Finland, married.

    Esperanto may well be the language which these couples use in their homes, particularly if they don't have another in common. If they start a family later, the children have access to it as one of their native languages, alongside their parents', their community's and so on.

    Wikipedia article on native Esperanto speakers

  • Are there any events in Esperanto?

    People have been getting together to use the language since the beginning. The largest international event is the annual World Esperanto Congress, which first took place in 1905 and features a week-long programme, usually accompanied by a week of excursions before and after. There are several other long-standing events, including the International Youth Congress.

    In the UK there is an annual conference, which is usually held from a Friday to a Sunday or Monday in April or May. Local Esperanto speakers arrange their own regular get-togethers, often by private meetup groups and the Esperanto Association of Britain runs its own portfolio of courses for new learners and experienced speakers.

    Our events calendar

  • What language family does Esperanto belong to?

    Esperanto does not have a genealogical origin, and therefore it does not 'belong' to a language family in that sense.

    Esperanto's lexical components are principally European, with Balto-Slavonic elements as well as Romance and Germanic vocabulary influences. Word-formation in Esperanto uses a highly productive affix system which is more reminiscent of the isolating and agglutinative language families beyond Europe.

    The analogies that seem closest to Esperanto are the pidgin and creole languages which are also the result of contact between speakers of different language backgrounds, but which also became, like Esperanto, the languages of communities of people in their own right.


    How can I?

  • How can I meet people who speak Esperanto?

    Finding other Esperanto speakers has never been easier, thanks to the internet. Please visit our page about finding Esperanto speakers for details.

  • How can I learn Esperanto?

    Please visit our education page to get an idea of the different ways in which it's possible to learn Esperanto. Online, in classrooms, by correspondence courses ... there are a lot of options!

  • How can I type Esperanto letters like ĉ and ŝ?

    The Esperanto alphabet contains six letters which are unique to it: Ĉ, Ĝ, Ĥ, Ĵ, Ŝ and Ŭ. Typing them is easy; visit our resources section to see how.

  • How can I find out more about Esperanto?

    You can post your questions in our discussion area. Our members will be happy to help you!


    Culture

  • Is there original literature in Esperanto?

    The Concise Encyclopedia of the Original Literature of Esperanto weights in at 740 pages. Concise!

    The Scottish poet William Auld wrote what is considered by many to be the finest piece of Esperanto literature, La infana raso (The Mewling Race), for which he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Auld also happened to be the editor of the 1958 Esperanta Antologio (Esperanto Anthology), a collection of the best original Esperanto literature from the language's first seventy years.

    Find books at our bookstore | Reading recommendations | Latest books in the World Esperanto Association's book service

  • Is there music in Esperanto?

    Esperanto has always had music, including original compositions in reggae, rap group and even death metal!

    And you'll find beautiful translations of well-known songs:

    There's even an Esperanto record label (Vinilkosmo) and an online radio service (Muzaiko) which plays music, among other types of entertainment, 24 hours a day!

  • Is there poetry in Esperanto?

    The very first Esperanto book contained poetry, both original and translated, and the artform soon became a staple of Esperanto writers. Specialist periodicals, such as Fonto (Source), have existed predominately for poetry, Fonto published 991 original poems by 138 authors between 1980 and 1993, which gives an idea of just how much poetry is out there.


Please contact us if you have any other questions. We'd be happy to help.

  • Is Esperanto a real language?
  • Is Esperanto officially recognised?
  • Who decides on new words in Esperanto?
  • How many words does Esperanto have?
  • How long does it take to learn Esperanto?
  • Will Esperanto split into dialects?
  • Does anyone famous speak Esperanto?
  • Is Esperanto just for Europeans?
  • Why isn't Esperanto used more widely?
  • What does Esperanto sound like?
  • What about other invented languages?
  • What about other international languages?
  • Do I have to know any other language before I study Esperanto?
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